Boasting a 24,000+ square foot Great Hall, 12 multi-purpose meeting rooms and more than 35,000 square feet of meeting/exhibition space, the Pembroke Pines City Center will include a new city hall, a 3,000 seat state-of-the-art performance/conference space, a stand alone Commission Chamber, and a two-story contemporary arts center called the Frank C. Ortis Art Gallery and Exhibit Hall at City Center (or “The Frank,”) named after Mayor Ortis. In other words… it’s no small project. Overseeing the center will be Steve Clark of SMG, the former General Manager of the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center and former Operations Director of the Miami Beach Convention Center. We caught up with Clark via email to learn more about the Center, the plans for the future and the challenges that come with such as large project.
What was the catalyst to build the City Center?
The City Center is part of the City’s Economic Development Plan dating back to discussion in the 1990s. It is in keeping with the city’s vision of a centralized downtown, which enhances the arts, cultural, event and entertainment offerings to the community, while providing city services to the residents.
What are you most excited about when it come to the Center’s creation?
First, the location is stellar… right in the heart of the community on Pines Blvd. and Palm Avenue. Secondly, the overall flexibility of the space, which allows for 24,000 sq. ft. exhibition floor that can convert to concert seating, meeting space that can accommodate from a small group of ten to up to 3,000, plus banquet space, an 11,000 sq. ft. art gallery, public plaza, and the convenience of City Hall on the upper floors.
Who are you looking to draw with the creation of the Center and who do you see taking advantage of it’s offerings?
The Center has 35,000 square feet of meeting/exhibition space which will draw local and regional conferences [when it opens in early 2017]. In addition, the center has the capacity to seat more than 3,000 for concerts with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. We also have banquet capabilities and seating for up to 1,500 for civic and local events.
What’s your biggest challenge in opening such a large facility?
Community awareness. We are now in the process of getting the word out to the Community that the City Center will be opening soon. The response thus far has been immensely positive from residents, and concert promoters.
What is your vision for the Center over the next five years?
First, we envision a Center that hosts a diversity of entertainment, trade shows, exhibitions, and local and Civic Events which will engage our residents. Secondly, the completion of the overall development, which includes, residences, shops, restaurants, and hotels.